Waru Express: Jedi Academy Trilogy

I’ll go ahead and fess up before we even start this.  I like these books.  Actually, I love these books.  In fact, these books have a very special place in my heart because they are the reason why I tumbled head first into the Expanded Universe.  Dark Apprentice is the first Star Wars book I stumbled upon after my grandmother bought me two random Young Jedi Knights books.  The YJK had already made me fall in love with the Solo twins, Tenel Ka, and Lowbacca and when nine-year-old Bria picked up Dark Apprentice for the first time, there was no turning back.  I do recognize that these books certainly have their faults but I could never hate them.  Instead, I am forever grateful to Kevin J. Anderson for writing books that were my gateway drug.  Therefore you have been warned of my nostalgia for this trilogy.  Onward!  (Editor’s Note: Sorry not sorry for liking these.)

Jedi Search
In retrospect, it’s possible that this trilogy is what started my “Han and Leia are the worst parents ever” way of thinking.  I do, however, make this comment with love for the Solo family to my friends.  But seriously: why would you ever let these two raise your daughter?  (I’m looking at you, Tenel Ka.)  Somewhere out there about ohhhh 30 years farther into the time line, Winter is shaking her head and saying “It’s not my fault” for what happened with the Solo children.

Okay, I shall stop ragging on the Solo’s questionable parenting skills.  For now. Continue reading

Waru Express: The Thrawn Trilogy

Ahhhh the Thrawn books.  Honestly, is there anything more classic than Zahn’s trilogy when it comes to the Expanded Universe?  If you’re here for the snark, you’ll have to wait a little bit longer because between these three books and another X-Wing novel?  I have nothing but praise this go-round.  (Shocking, I know.) (Editor’s Note: Can we all pause for a minute and appreciate that we’re getting Thrawn in Rebels in less than two weeks AND that we’re getting shiny new covers for this trilogy?  HOW COOL IS THAT?)

Heir to the Empire
One of the first things that occurred to me while I was reading this book is how much the Star Wars universe owes to Timothy Zahn.  There is so much about the universe that I just take for granted that I’m now realizing/remembering is all thanks to Zahn.  Coruscant?  Zahn.  Personalities for character who really only cameoed in the films but are integral parts of the EU?  Zahn.  Bringing Wedge Antilles to the forefront?  Zahn.  Introducing the best character ever, aka Winter?  Zahn.  I mean, I’m not saying that Zahn is god but the amount of canon he contributed is amazing.  (Editor’s Note: This is moderately entertaining to read now that I’ve met Tim multiple times over the past few years and have moderated panels with him etc.)

What I love about this book and the entire trilogy is that the story still clearly feels like Star Wars but still has its own tale to tell.  It’s not a rehashing of the Emperor or Vader because the villains have their own motivations and characterizations.  (I’ll save my ‘Why I love Pellaeon’ ramble for another post.)  Thrawn is most certainly his own character who takes a very different approach to winning the war than any other Imperial we’ve seen before.  It’s pretty cool that he can study art and figure out how someone will react.  And then you have C’boath who is just bonkers.  His original model wasn’t much of a charmer to begin with so this probably shouldn’t be surprising. Continue reading

Waru Express: Rogue Squadron

I’ve finally reached the first batch of X-Wing books and there was much rejoicing!  Obviously we here at Tosche Station are very pro-X-Wing books and I always enjoy getting to read them again.  So sit back and enjoy me gushing about the first four books focused on the flyboys and flygirls of Rogue Squadron as they do the impossible which is absolutely what they do best.

Rogue Squadron
I love these books.  I really do.  But WOW IS CORRAN HORN AN ARROGANT PAIN IN THE BUTT in this book.  I do like him as a character especially with some of the character development he’s gotten over the years but he is infuriating to read about in this book.  The arrogance and the monologuing do get a bit old after awhile.  At least I know he gets better.  Corran will always have some of that arrogance because that’s just who he is and I appreciate that but it’s at an all time high here.  (Editor’s Note: NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR DEAD DAD, CORRAN.)

I do enjoy reading this book though because it’s a solid read that offers both a good story and some great characters.  It simultaneously tells the story of the squadron’s reassembly and also sets up the overarching plot for the next three books.  (Editor’s Note: But it’s also the weakest of Stackpole’s initial Rogue run.)

With the exception of certain arrogant Corellian and a certain Bacta Queen-who-was-clearly-a-traitor-the-whole-time-in-retrospect, the characters are rather enjoyable!  (Okay, maybe I was a little harsh grouping Corran with Erisi there.  That was mean, I’m sorry, Corran.)  I always love getting a chance to look into Wedge Antilles’s head and Stackpole does such a good job of it.  I also enjoyed getting to meet such great characters like Tycho Celchu, Mirax Terrik, and Gavin Darklighter.  Poor Tycho though.  Like his backstory wasn’t already tragic enough without adding in the ‘he might be a traitor’ thing.  At least Mirax gets to balance it out by being sassy.  Continue reading